The original plan had been for us and the gang to ride Arkansas over the Mothers Day weekend. You can read about a couple of our past trips here:
Mothers Day 2012 – Mothers Day 2011 – Mothers Day 2010
This year the weather has been crazy and the forecast for this Mothers Day trip was not looking good at all. In fact the weather channel was forecasting for the entire weekend 80% chance or higher for rain and severe weather.This was not good news. I had to make a decision on the trip as we needed to make room arrangements. With a heavy heart we cancelled. Now I had to come up with Plan B. I knew the other group would not be able to attend, so I thought it would be fun to make this a true Mothers Day gift for Jamie. The weather looked to be decent south and east so I decided to plan something headed that way. As many of you all know, Jamie loves the Casinos and I thought that it would be fun to include someplace new on the agenda. Here was the trip agenda I came up with.
Thursday we would load up and head to Nacogdoches Texas to lay over on our way to Lake Charles, Louisiana. On Friday we would ride to Lake Charles and play some at a couple of the casinos. On Saturday we would head over to Natchitoches Louisiana for a quiet day of back roads and relaxation. Then back to the metroplex for Mothers Day. Here is the write up of the weekend. It turned out to be a great trip.
Thursday May 7th – The journey begins.
Earlier in the week I had to get a new set of tires for the Versys. The stock OEM BridgeStones were almost wore at at almost 4000 miles. I did not think that they would make it another 1000 miles. I decided to try out the Michelin Pilot Road 4’s. I have always like the PR brand of tire. My local dealership, Plano Kawasaki installed the tires and even cleaned up the bike for me. They matched the internet price of the tires and went above and beyond in cleaning the bike. I am loyal to this dealer for these types of actions.
Now that the bike had fresh rubber, all that was needed was to pack up the bike and get headed out on the journey. I took Bella to the kennel and finished packing on Wednesday. Jamie left school a little late and finished packing as well. We were ready to hit the road.
We took off for the trip a little later than we had anticipated. We stopped at our usual meeting spot for a quick cup of coffee. Our plans had us having breakfast at The Shed in Edom. I am participating in the Texas Small Cafe Motorcycle tour and the Shed is one of the places on the list. We got to the Shed around 11:30. Lunch was as good as always. We got our needed pictures to get the points for the tour. The weather had been overcast most of the day, but now the sun was shinning.
Jamie and I snaked our way along the East Texas back roads, enjoying the green lush trees, the wonderful smells of the outdoors and just taking our time enjoying the Texas
country side. It was a great afternoon of riding. We arrived at the hotel around 4pm. We cleaned up and jumped back on the bike. We started off with getting coffee across from Stephen F. Austin University. It was happy hour at Starbucks. Dinner was decided on earlier as we both wanted the onion rings at Clear Springs. The onion rings were calling our names and we were responding. It was a very nice dinner. We had to pick up a few items, so on our shopping trip we decided to get the game Farkle. We rode over to Java Jacks and had a nice cup of coffee with some carrot cake for desert. To top off the evening, I got beat up by Jamie in Farkle. It was a great way to end a relaxing day on the motorcycle. It was a great start to the journey. Tomorrow we ride to Lake Charles. A place that neither one of us had ever visited.
Friday May 8th – Lake Charles here we come!
Jamie and I took our time getting around and on the road. We had less than 200 miles to Lake Charles. We were taking the back roads and we were not on the clock. Yes vacations
are very nice. We rode through the Louisiana back country, taking in all of the new scenery. We saw plenty of Catfish, Mudbugs and rice farms. The road conditions are not as good as we are accustomed to here in Texas. The back roads had areas that needed some work. The pace was not fast and since there are a very limited amount of corners, the pace of the day fit the mood. We took our time and stopped when we wanted. We rode around storms all day but again, did not get a chance to wear our rain gear. This was not the case for Arkansas and Dallas, as both areas was getting some very severe weather. Plan B so far seemed to be working out quite well.
We arrived in Lake Charles around 3PM. we stayed in a hotel off the main casino drag as we did not feel a need to spend $399 a night when we could spend $70 and have just as good of a nights sleep. The people in Louisiana were very friendly. At the hotel the check in person was having issues with the computer. She just gave us a key and said to come back later to get all the information for checking in. She also said that we could park the bike under the front canopy so it would stay out of the weather. She was very nice indeed.
We had not eaten much so we took a quick shower and headed down to the Casinos. We went to Lauberge first. This is a very nice – Las Vegas style casino. It was beautiful and had some awesome motorcycle parking in the garage. We went and ate while sitting next to the lazy river. The food was very good and well priced. The Shrimp was amazing. The casino was large and well ventilated. This is important as smoke just kills me and my mood. We played some and just walked around talking in the visuals of the casino. It was a very nice place. After a couple of hours we decided to walk down the board walk to the Golden Nugget. The two casinos are connected by a nice board walk along the river. People were out playing volleyball on the beach enjoying the nice weather. People had boats parked on the beach and everyone seemed to be having fun. There were some very pretty
people walking around all tanned and fit. This was a very cool place. The only downer was the cost of a couple of margaritas at the beach bar. $15 a drink in a small cup is not cool. We learned, just felt like we were getting ripped off. It must work as the place was swamped. Not a huge issue, just caught us by surprise. Thank GOD we are light weights when it comes to drinking. The Nugget was a very nice casino as well. We did not have very good luck at either place, but it was a great evening. I love exploring new places with my beautiful wife. Doing it while riding a motorcycle makes it even better. I am a very lucky guy. It was a fabulous evening.
Saturday May 9th – Winning Rocks – Heading to Fred’s Lounge.
We had a great evening of rest. It rained a little overnight, but the forecast for the day was bright and sunny. We had been watching the weather channel and shaking our heads over the current weather activity. The Dallas area was getting beat up with severe weather, rain and tornado warnings. Arkansas was getting the same and mother nature threw in some heavy flooding to boot. It was snowing in Denver and a hurricane was rolling into the east coast. The weather gods were angry. The cool thing was this. Jamie and I had not had to put on rain gear for the trip. The sun was shining and it was actually warm in the afternoons. As many of you know, I am not one of these flexible, fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy. I like plans and being organized. This trip was thrown together with no schedule and it was a BLAST! I am going to have to rethink my approach to some of these trips.
We decided to get up and head over to the last large casino we did not get to visit yesterday. The Isle of Capri is across the river and in the industrial part of Lake Charles. The Casino is not as nice looking as the others we had visited but the staff was really friendly. We went and had breakfast and then I told Jamie she could play a little as long as she won. Well she takes instruction well. She got back some of the money we had lost the previous evening and paid for breakfast. It was a great way to leave Lake Charles. I think we will be back again. It was a fun place. As we were riding out of town the skies got dark and cloudy, but again no rain. We were lucky in the casino and with the weather. This Saturday morning was starting off great!.
We rode more back roads and made our way over to Fred’s Lounge in Mamou La. Jamie had never had the experience of Fred’s. Its an awesome place and no matter what time of day you visit, people are drinking and dancing. Smiles are abound as the patrons are all having the time of their life while listening to some pure Cajun music. It is a fantastic place to be uplifted. It makes me smile just thinking about it.
After enjoying a couple of hours at Fred’s we jumped back on the bike and took off to Natchitoches. We took our time and just took in the day. The weather cleared and it actually got warm by the end of the day. The riding was very good. The country side was green and the roads were empty. It is a great combo for a nice afternoon on the motorcycle.
Jamie and I got to the hotel around 2:30PM. We cleaned up and headed to the historic downtown. We grabbed a quick snack and soaked in the slow pace of this great old town. I love this place. We spent the rest of the day and evening walking around and eating. haha. We walked the square and enjoyed the river. It was another awesome day. Our Plan B was still working out. It was just what the doctor ordered for the two of us. No stress, just enjoying each others company in a no stress environment.
It hit us while we were getting ready to fall asleep. Our trip was almost over. The time away was much needed. These trips make our bond so much stronger. I love the fact that my wife loves riding. I love that she enjoys my passion on the same level as I do. We love being on the bike. It would have been really easy to abort this trip. The weather forecast looked to be awful. The cards were stacked against us, but we decided to go for it and damn we were so glad we did.
Sunday May 10th – Mother’s Day, Cloudy skies, bad forecasts and tornado’s warnings whoo hoo!
We awoke to a very humid morning. The weather channel was not sharing good news. It
looked like the state of Texas was under some sort of severe weather warning. We knew that Sunday could be a wet day, now it was hitting home. We decided to slab home and try to beat the storms. We ate a quick breakfast at the hotel and hit the road. We made our first stop just outside of Shreveport on I-20. The skies were ominous but we were still dry. The forecast was not looking good in the metroplex. Our friends were sending texts concerned for our safety. We started to get worried as well but at this time we were dry and the roads were flowing well.
We were very fortunate as we got behind a group of three cars that were moving along at a good rate of speed. We made great time and when we parted ways from them we were still dry and within 100 miles of home. We jumped off for a snack around the Van Texas exit. Our timing was good as a couple of hours later they were pummeled with very high winds, rain and golfball sized hail.
We rolled into the garage after recording 979 miles for the trip. It started raining the last 20 minutes of the trip, but not hard enough to even put on rain gear. We were lucky as it seemed like we rolled through places right after or before they got hammered with weather. We had a fantastic trip. It was a much needed get away and we stayed dry. It was a win-win.
I wanted to take a few minutes to wish my wife a happy Mother’s day. She is such a caring, warm and compassionate person. She takes care of our children like no other. Her love for them and for me are apparent in everything that she says and does. I love her with all my heart. I hope she enjoyed this Mother’s Day trip. I love you Jamie – Thanks for being the best Mother and Wife a family could ask for.